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Texas governor says response to prayer after accident made him stronger

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has not always lived life in a wheelchair. He was on his morning jog 31 years ago when a falling tree broke his spinal cord, leaving him partially paralyzed.

Abbott, a Catholic, noted at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, held Thursday in Washington, there are times when "our prayers are answered differently than the way we expect."

He said he can recall, "I spent months praying and hoping for the best possible outcome" after the accident. God, instead, "responded by giving me challenges that made me even stronger."

What Catholics can teach America about polarized politics


Americans of all stripes bemoan political polarization. For people who claim to derive their political values from their religious traditions, polarization raises vexing questions. More than perhaps any other group, faithful Catholics struggle to reconcile their church's teachings with the platforms of the two major parties.

New documentary on Thomas Merton celebrates centennial of monk's birth

Morgan Atkinson's new documentary on Thomas Merton, the famed Trappist monk from the Cistercian abbey in Gethsemani, Kentucky, was "40 years in the making," he joked.

Actually, it was closer to two, but it was Atkinson's own pilgrimage to Gethsemani 40 years ago that not only broadened his exposure to Merton, but led him to become a Catholic himself.

Six things to expect in the pope's address to Congress


Everyone wants Congress to stop fighting and get working, and that includes Pope Francis, a top adviser said Wednesday in a preview of the pope's upcoming U.S. trip.

The Argentine-born pope has never been to the United States, but he will make history in September as the first pope to address a joint meeting of the House and Senate on Capitol Hill.

"The pope will come humbly but will talk clearly," Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, a top adviser to Francis, told an audience at Georgetown University.

Forum outlines strategies to end extreme poverty worldwide


With extreme poverty having been cut in half over the last generation -- and the Millennium Development Goals target of poverty halving having been achieved five years ahead of the 2015 deadline -- veterans of the global war on poverty believe it is possible that extreme poverty can be wiped out in the next 15 years.

It will be a tall order because an estimated 1 billion people still live in extreme poverty, defined as living on less than $1.25 a day.

First diplomat for LGBT rights speaks out


Becoming a father was a prime motivator for Randy Berry to accept what's sure to be a controversial new role at the State Department.

Berry, 50, is the U.S. special envoy for the human rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, the first such post created by a nation, according to the State Department.

In that trailblazing role, he said, he has an opportunity to help his two children grow up in a world more accepting than the one he was born into.

Supreme Court considers place of same-sex marriage in states that bar it

The questions raised by Supreme Court justices as they considered Tuesday whether they should rule that same-sex marriage should be made legal nationwide covered a gamut of rights concerns -- religious, equal protection, states' ability to enact their own laws.

In two and a half hours of oral arguments, the line of questions and the answers by attorneys representing both sides made clear that all concerned recognize the potential for the court's ruling to be history-making.



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In This Issue

November 20-December 3, 2015


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